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Stereotypes and untruths are everywhere, but this economic crisis is not self-inflicted.
Tags: Greece Economy
We're not in denial knuckle-head our former prime-minister mr. simitis wanted to be the first Greek Prime Minister in History to intiate the Euro to Greece! All Greeks didn't lie about the facts of the economy...<<<<>>>>>> lied and made up numbers. We weren't even asked!!!!! Simple me has a query>>>>>I'm poor and lazy and come to U for a loan.........Are U going to trust me and Loan me or give me a kick in the behind and tell me to go out and work if you want to survive????????????? What are you all complaing about now>>>>>You and Your Banks trusted us then, so tough luck to you if you never get it back!!! I have been working for the past 30 years here and am still getting 430 Euro.....you're welcome to balance your bills with my income any day dim wit!!!!
*****CERTAIN GREEKS****** is what is missing above
Firstly, Europe was fully aware of the situation when it accepted Greece into the club. We 're not talking about some minor business deal or some school kids club here, we are talking about the biggest economy in the world, which operates accordingly and is accordingly informed. Secondly, nobody suggests it is all the EU's fault, i didn't read that. It does suggest that responsibility for this mess lies outside this country as well, but i guess for some people it is more rational to consider a tiny country responsible for a global crisis than to examine what is actually going wrong. And then they talk about denial.
It is NOT the greeks who lied... it was the GREEK GOVERNMENT for f**'s sake!
I don't believe Greeks work more hours than the most of Europe.
I couple of years ago I was on a training course with 5 colleagues, one of whom was Greek. He was amazed how every body was turning up on time. "If this was at home people wouldn't be turning up til lunchtime".
Greeks may get paid for more hours than the rest of Europe, they just don't work them.
Your opinion is, if i understand it well, based on one greek individual you once met? Ahmmm, what can i say, congratulations.
Your opinion is, if i understand it well, based on one greek individual you once met? Congratulations.
I'm a Brit living in Greece, I found that after I moved here my preconceived notions and stereotypes about the Greek people had been quite wrong - especially the hours worked. Most of my friends and colleges are/were owners or employees of small businesses and usually work from early in the morning until late at night - I can think of many - including my husband - who work 7 days a week (to the detriment of their health and family life). I'm so tired of these incorrect sloppy stereotypes.
That is so true,i have lived here for twenty years now and i have seen 1st hand how hard a lot of people work,most shops are open for late night shopping every night except Sunday,people who work in the tourist industry(i live in Rhodes)work seven days a week from May to October & then they have to find some kind of job through the winter,yes of course there are the lazy ones who abuse the system but that goes on everywhere,please stop with the negativity,unless you live in a place & get to know the people you can't really judge.
I think we need to make a distinction between public and private sector. In the private sector you MUST work long hours or the market throws you out. I own a small business for 20 years and I don't know one person in my field who doesn't work all kinds of long hours. I also know many people who work in the public sector who brag, or used to brag, at how few hours they need to work. They get other people to punch their time cards while they're not at work. I know people who have retired at the age of 35!!! Having said that I know there are also hard working people in the public sector, I have met a few, but they are such a small percentage.
At last, some truth comes out!!!
Well written, yet sentiment-ladden article. I am Greek and I have lived here in Athens almost all my life. My view on the matter is as follows:
Problems here in Greece:
1) Bureaucracy (huge public sector leeching off the private one)
2) Corruption (politicians with loyalty only to their corporate sponsors)
3) Tax evasion (citizens trying to pay less taxes due to overtaxation caused by problems 1+2)
4) Huge country debt (caused by problems 1,2,3)
5) Huge interest rate of loans (caused by problems 1,2,3,4)
The measures, though, dictated by the EU to tackle these issues may exacerbate rather than allieviate the situation. And since I do not think that Greece is the only country plagued by the aforementioned problems, I feel that EU should function as a united front rather than a fragmented coalition. Belittling a country and pretending you are better than them is a sign of weakness not strength. We have never claimed that we do not know what went wrong and for the past 2 years every Greek I know has changed for the better and is struggling to survive. The last thing we are as people is meek. But scapegoating us is taking it too far.
Thanks for reading :)
SO true! Thanks for posting such a clear explanation about the situation in Greece!
Agreed. The problem of a bloated, parasitical bureaucracy is a Europe-wide one, and needs to be tackled at a European level. Hardworking Greeks in the private sector are the innocent victims of this mess.
If Greece lied it's way into the euro that doesn't mean it's just a Greek problem. There is the notion of moral hazard and the need to exercise due diligence. The architects of the euro clearly failed to exercise due diligence by allowing Greece and possibly Italy to enter in the first place. Rumours of cooking the books were widespread when the euro was set up but then largely ignored by the supposedly competent authorities. Blaming the Greeks is simply a ruse by those responsible to absolve themselves of any responsibility.
Regardless of any book cooking, the euro is fundamentally structurally unsound as it has led to huge trade imbalances between the north ( notably Germany ) and the south to the benefit of the former. The only way to make it sustainable is through fiscal transfers and the mutualisation of debt - structural reforms will only work in the long run.
Thank you. I am 'sharing' it.
OK - here's what worries me. Blaming 'the Greek in the street' for it all is only likely to invoke a sodemall attitude to the banks, the Euro, Germany and all the others - thereby increasing the likelihood they will default messily in an illogical but all too human desire to inflict as much collatoral damage as possible on those they see as behind the crisis.
Ultimately I blame the banks and EU leadership - frankly, if Greeks are really so lazy and feckless why did they let them in the club?
Very interesting to know that the average retirement age for a Greek is about average for the EU. Now can we move on to the next crucial point -- what percentage of their final take home pay they will be receiving as pension?
This will have to take in private savings to be comparable, as private pensions are increasingly part of retirement income in many countries.
A Greek hairdresser retires age 53 on 90% of final pay. Thats because they are in one of 600 'dangerous professions' and thus suffers from the stress, danger and general wear and tear and shortened life expectency that such an work entails.
I'm sorry Sir but you must be an idiot to not read between the lines of the rubbish that was 'Go Greek for a Week". Did you at any point think to question how much a Greek hairdresser earns in the first place? It's certainly not the same as a hairdresser in England, which was heavily impied if never actually stated. Also you state 'A Greek hairdresser retires age 53 on 90% of final pay.'
No he/she doesn't because they can't afford to, due to the very low wages they receive in the first place in a country where supermarkets charge around double the normal EU average for basic goods.
Do a little research before talking about what you know not.
I have lived in Greece for 15 years. You describe the Greece I know. Thank you.
Imagine three Greek brothers. Each earning say the equivalent of £100,000 a year running a Greek restaurant. One of the three lives in Greece, where they use the euro. The second lives in Germany, where they use the euro as well. The third is in China, where they use the yuan. Each of the brothers borrows £145,000 to buy a yacht.The global financial crisis hits and Greek restaurants around the world fall out of favour as people begin eating at home to save money. The Greeks take a 30% pay cut, leaving them earning £70,000 a year. All of a sudden, none of them can afford the repayments on their personal loan, for which the interest rates have gone up as well!What do they do? Well, the Greeks living in China and Germany sell their yachts, dig into their savings, and sell their house in favour of cheap rental accommodation. They might just make it. What does the Greek living in Greece do? He asks his brothers to bail him and his yacht out. Then he has a hissy fit outside the Greek parliament, throwing petrol bombs and chanting slogans about how evil his selfish relatives are, because they will only send money if their brother agrees to make sacrifices. Then (and most absurdly of all) the desperate brother tells anyone who will listen that it’s all the euro’s fault, all the bankers fault everybody fault but him!!
As allways "The Devil is in the details"
I would like to add some more "facts" to your story.
The greek "brother" can't sell the the yacht oreven the house because there is noone to buy it, the loan rates for him have skyrocketed and his german brother, after blaming him for the rise fof HIS loan rates, comes with a "brilliant" idea:
"I will refinance your loan with ONLY 6% rate putting your yacht, your retaurant AND your house as collateral, I will put a sign outside your restaurant saying that you are a bad lazy person, you have to take an extra pay cut by say 20% and you must sing an agreement that says that you can't file for bankruptcy even if no one comes to eat at your restaurant again"
And if you DARE to contradict any of these "brotherly" terms then you are not only the black sheep of our family but you are the only one responsible for taking down the world economy.
And please if anyone knows how to contact Maria in the article send her the example of the average Greek brother with the £100,000 ernings a year, She could use agood laugh.
I really cannot believe that people outside actually believe this things...
Seriously that's the way you see the situation? Our "European brothers" were so nice to Greece without waiting for something in return and we simply are failing them.
I simply ask you to see which is the greatest buyer of military equipment from Germany and France.. also check how Siemens (a German company) took advantage of our corrupted politicians to make billions.
I accept my people's responsibility of voting the wrong people but that is all, you cannot expect us to starve to death just because we voted for the wrong people. Look at the tables look at how many hours an average Greek works.. and also take into condiseration that terms like "Lunch break" are completely unknown to the average Greek worker. We work 8-10 hours straight without breaks, but we have an amazing country and after those 10 hours we choose to go outside instead of staying in hour house and that's what you misunderstand as laziness...
Seriously stop listening to media propaganda and either change your sources or come to live in Greece for 6-7 months to see the situation with your own eyes...
Bizarre fable 'Rain'. Not quite sure where the German yacht club is. Or how many Greek nautical types are rioting. You have no sense of how ordinary folk are crushed by the monetary game do you?
Greece's debts are because of Greece's own choices, living wildly and corruptly beyond its means.
like the US? above the sum of what represented $3,750,000 in 2008, there was a federal tax rate of 91% in 1954 in the US. Those who earned up to $37,500 had a tax rate of 20% ( look http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_Revenue_Code_of_1954 --> "a progressive tax with 24 income brackets"). Whereas today it's only 6 income brackets, and with the Bush tax cuts, as a single earning $28,400 one paid a tax rate of 25% in 2003, whereas there was 35% tax rate over $311,950 (look http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobs_and_Growth_Tax_Relief_Reconciliation_A... ). And that goes some way explaining today's debt and misery... Along with all the money spent on wars of course... But it all comes down to an unsustainable, imperialist, aggressive system of course. Which the greeks seem smart enough to resist against. Good for them.
@Rain... Seriously, that's a playback of what you heard on the news... isn't it? Perhaps you're German, too. So, tell us... how much have you invested (or bet) on Greece's bankruptcy? C'mon, say the truth, my friend.
Governments should curb their budget deficits and be as fiscally responsible such as German's. Southern weaker economies must be restructured and their labour markets overhauled so as to replicate Germany's economic recovery of a decade ago, which kept wages in check and remade the country into the exporting powerhouse it is today. Monetary policy across the whole euro zone, needs to be focused, as Germany's has long been, on keeping inflation in check.
oh I see, there are some neoliberal sect fanatics left. like past leaders of the Soviet Union they have some things written down on a paper, however then there is reality... above the sum of what represented $3,750,000 in 2008, there was a federal tax rate of 91% in 1954 in the US. Those who earned up to $37,500 had a tax rate of 20% ( look http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_Revenue_Code_of_1954 --> "a progressive tax with 24 income brackets"). Whereas today it's only 6 income brackets, and with the Bush tax cuts, as a single earning $28,400 one paid a tax rate of 25% in 2003, whereas there was 35% tax rate over $311,950 (look http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobs_and_Growth_Tax_Relief_Reconciliation_A... ). And that goes some way explaining today's debt and misery... Along with all the money spent on wars of course... But it all comes down to an unsustainable, imperialist, aggressive system of course.
It is about time to explode the myth of Greek laziness and greed (Mediterranean I should say as the Spaniards and the Italians have been thrown in the same xenophobic pit).
The Greeks, like all of us, have been thoroughly screwed by the international banks and their politician lackeys.Who better to blame but their very own victims?
Another thing: if , for a moment, you replaced the word "Greek" with the word "Arab" or "African", there would be instant cries of racism. Why is it that it is still all right to be prejudiced against other white European nations?? Why is it that almost everyone, apart from hard core racists, think that racism is no longer acceptable, but the same people go on pronouncing the most xenophobic bollocks without a tinge of shame or embarrassment?
I am also amazed at the number of "NS" readers who have fallen for the blame game and cheerfully throw stones at people who, like them, have worked all their lives and have paid their taxes, but who at the end of it, are destitute and abandoned (unlike them..yet). The people who avoided paying tax in Greece were the rich and big business, like hummm , yes , a bit like here! surprise! surprise! The ordinary people have no way to avoid paying taxes. Like here in Greece, it was taken at source.As to the argument the Greeks voted for their politicians, therefore they are responsible for their betrayal, that is a bit rich from British people who have in succession, voted for despicable governments who have led them to war as well as financial ruin.
@Luna... Two words. Thank You!
Racists would love to be more racist in the open but due to our society becoming more civilised and less ignorant, they have a tough time doing so. But picking on 'other' whites but of a different nationality is their last bastion of being openly racist. That too will one day be frowned upon.
who said the Greeks are white?
Some would find racism under a gooseberry bush? This isn't about racism; it’s about telling the truth and living within one's means: to spend no more money than one has, and not taking on more debt than one can possibly hope to repay. It’s about electing fiscally responsible governments, that’s something the Greeks constantly failed to do. The Greek public sector became obese on borrowed money. Greek politicians became increasingly corrupt on borrowed money. International speculators are becoming obscenely wealthy on Greek inability to manage debt, and what do the Greeks do? Throw-up their hands and deny all responsibility and blame all but them. The Greeks will default, the Germans will stop lending. International speculators will cut and run and then this rotten monolithic ill-conceived political-union called the EU will come crashing down and only then, will you see truth racism and not the kind you find under the gooseberry bush.
Interesting when it suits the left wing arguement that they include the private sector working hours in graphs.
Would be very interested to see a survey of working hours of the greek public sector worker only.
The markets are causing financial and chaos and misery. They are shifting wealth from us to the parasites, to those who contribute nothing whatsoever. These markets on the most part have been saved from their own greed and corruption by our bailout money. They are telling us to go without, austerity, so they can go about their destruction of the worlds finances. We are now burdened by their debt and even being blamed for it. Protest is slowly being outlawed. Amazingly this makes some kind sense to our supposed well heeled representatives. Of course our representatives are in the pockets of the spivs, fraudsters and crooks who run the world. The same goes for the media. We need to kick them all out. We need to suspend or control the criminal feral destructive markets. This financial destruction is deliberate. They have all but destroyed Greece it now seems they have Spain in their sights.
See Victoria Grant You Tube. She knows what's going on. Even Clegg's 8 year old daughter knows what's going on. How can we let this continue?
The contibution of the Greeks just from WW2, the meddling of forign powers from the civil war right through to the junta (not to mention this current crisis) and Greeks still have to justify themselves to economically and militarily more powerful countries who have taken us to illegitimate wars, collabarate with financial institutions and corporations to get what they can from vulnerable nations makes the intoduction of SYRIZA to the world stage pleasing. I do get the impression there in a strong silent majority in Europe / South America who back SYRIZA, but unfortunately the political landscape in most European countries would not allow for such a party to blossom....it appears that this silent majority are starting to rattle their cage and London / New York might have a Black Swan moment.
Are the hours listed here hours worked or rather hours paid? Most Greeks work for the public sector, where getting paid overtime (2x or 3x) on a weekly basis for unjustifiable claims is common. In addition, striking workers will still get their paycheck - and strikes and blockades have been a daily feature of Greek life for 30'years. Add to that the thousands of work hours lost each month due to leftist groups blocking access to ministries, banks etc and you get the real picture. If we Greeks indeed worked so many hours, then why on earth do we have the worst productivity in Europe, 1/5 of the Germans? This article exemplifies everying that is wrong with my fellow Greeks' mentality on the current state of our nation. Blame everyone else, except the real culprits, ourselves. As long as people believe that the debt was a result of outside forces and not 30 years of wasteful spending than we are doomed to stay In this vicious cycle forever.
The political party in power which cooked the books was the New Democratic Party, a Christian democracy grouping.
Goldman Sachs did what any financial expert would do - please the client(state).
Of course. Germany and France did a little creative accounting or their own. But that's to be expected.
Still, its rich of the Germans. A colony of the USA for fifteen years at least. No way! Instead of being exploited by the Victors, the US and Britain, to a much lesser extent that America, poured in funds and food.
And West Germany did not have to expend money on armaments and armies.
However, the beauty of it is, Greece could bring us all down. Just look at the demise of the Persian Empire! Then we can start the blame game anew.
Greece is in the Balkans, isn't if? What a tinderbox!
Dear Mr Alex Andreou,
I simply agree with you.
Giulio Ceribella , Italy
Pathetic victim mentality. Not us - it's everyone else!
Greece paid GS and others to help her cook the books and lie her way into the Euro. It was a massive fraud. If she'd abided by the rules she wouldn't have got in - and wouldn't be in this mess in the first place!
You think the Germans, French -or the US- did not know the truth about Greece when they where pushing the country to join the Euro? Do you doubt for a second they were calculating precisely? Do you have no idea how much the Germans have benefited from the Euro this since the beginning? How many billions they make in trade with Greece and all other countries? Or how much they are benefiting still right now through this 'bailout'? Read, watch and listen, it's there.
Some of the statistics on working hours are... difficult. Sure, the raw numbers of hours worked may be correct. But if you look at productivity per hour, it's a whole different story (the Guardian did something on this a while ago).
And "Germany's whopping 30" days of paid leave just isn't true. The legally required paid leave is 20 days on a 5 day work week (+ public holidays). Those benefitting from collective bargaining get more, depending on the industry.
The article is partially correct. This is about banks and keeping them solvent and not about ordinary Greek people - who no ones cares about, certainly not their own politicians who have lied to them for so long.
Greece did build up a huge deficit in short order. The Party in power bribed its own - left or right depending on the flavour - to win votes. Just like Labour has built a client state in the UK of benefit claimants and state workers.
At the same time everyone avoided taxes, to the tune of Greece collecting 10% less than the EU average (that's 30% of GDP instead of 40% - so on some measures nearly 30% less than say Germany).
So now the cookie has come home, the borrowed money to fund the pork barrell has ended and the party is well and truly over.No wonder PASOK and New Democracy can't win, they are sick parties.
Perhaps one day in the UK people will see the possibility we have for this being our future too - and stop voting Labour who are encouraging this tribal, government largesse based voting pattern in our own Country.
Greek-born, Alex Andreou has a background in law and economics. He runs the Sturdy Beggars Theatre Company and blogs here You can find him on twitter @sturdyalex